Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Close sources confirm that after the post season play, Tony LaRussa is headed home (probably San Francisco, but possibly back to Oakland) and Jose Oquendo will be the Cardinal’s new skipper next year. That’s right, you heard it here first. It can not be verified how accurate the information is from one source and other source may be one of those voices I hear when things are quiet, but all the pieces are falling into place. Okay, so my boss, who know some people in the industry, has been kicking this one around for a while and I’ve been ignoring it but now with the firing of Macha and the bickering with Rolen, I’m starting to see the pieces all come together.

Tony has never felt comfortable here nor has he ever really been accepted. He has had his teams and his time and has not been able to put it all together. His 2004 team was great, his 2005 team was even better. In 2006, he was dealt a bad hand and as the summer rolled on he (as we) thought the owners would shore up some holes. They never did. There were several times this past summer that he left players on the field when they clearly didn’t belong there just to make a statement to the owners saying in essence “these are the players that you gave me, this is what they can (or can’t) do”. The owners got the message and they were not happy with it. He is also getting fed up with players grumbling about injuries they should be playing through (Edmonds), players that should be keeping him informed about injuries they can’t play through (Rolen), a fan base that has never forgiven him for not being Whitey Herzog, and a parochial attitude that he will never be welcome in St. Louis if he doesn’t like it enough to move here.

He has a chance to manage close to home so he can spend more time with his family and he will be better appreciated.

Ownership is tired of listening to the squabbles in the media. They have been trying to be fiscally responsible (or they are too cheap) and have put the best line up they can afford on the field and they feel that Tony has slighted them on several occasions this past year. LaRussa feels like he’s been trying to polish a potato and the ownership feels that Tony is the chef, he should know what to do with a good potato.

Most of our pitching staff and many of our bench position players are either in a walk year or are getting long in the tooth. NOW IS THE TIME FOR CHANGE!

Tony has had a long uphill climb with the Cardinals and he peaked somewhere between 2004 and 2005. He has done a good job, maybe a great job, but he can’t grasp that ring. When you bring in a new manager, the first thing he does is to rebuild the team with his type of players. There is sure to be many new faces on the Cardinals next year so if you’re ever going to hire a new manager, this is the time to do it.

Oquendo has been being groomed for this job. He will be embraced by the fans as “one of us” like Herzog was and the ownership will get him for a fraction of the cost of Tony LaRussa. He is bound to be loved by the players, especially the Spanish players and his presence may help to attract some of them for a reasonable price which will also be attractive to this ownership.

Don’t get me wrong, Tony will not be fired. Whether the Cards win it all this year or not, Tony can say he has done everything he can in this town and it’s time to move on, time to go home. If they can’t put a good spin on it, nobody will pull the trigger, but the finger is there, it’s squeezing and I don’t see anything that can stop it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Anna writes... Why does SUCK?

Well, there are actually two reasons:

1. Because it is not Ask Jim.
2. Because it does!

Anna also writes... Why are my earphones labeled "Left" and "Right"? I have 3 different pairs of earphones, and they're all labeled. However, if I put the "left" earphone in my right ear and vice versa, I don't notice any sound difference.

What the HECK?

It’s not just your earphones that are marked left and right, speakers are also marked left and right. Chances are most of the time, you won’t notice a difference and it doesn’t really matter. Both tracks are often different, but it usually won’t matter whether you have the earphones on backwards or not. The only time it would make a difference would be if you were watching a video where something was moving from left to right, the sound would be from right to left.

In the late sixties, when stereo was first becoming commonplace, many audiophiles considered it a gimmick. Those who were classical music fans thought the only time stereo would make any difference was during a crescendo from one side of the stage to the other, but those were far and few between. It was the “pop” music scene that really made strides with stereo when they started recording each instrument on a separate track. They would then use mixers to place those tracks on separate speakers. Quite honestly, I haven’t paid attention to music for 30 years, but if when you say “, I don't notice any sound difference” you mean there is no noticeable difference between the left sound and the right sound, you should listen to some old Beatles songs from their Sgt. Pepper of White album. They did a lot of experimentation with stereo. You will notice a difference, though it still probably wouldn’t matter if you swapped earphones.

Adam writes... Last night I locked myself out of my car. AAA came and stuck a tool called a "slim Jim" (ha-ha, that's you're name too!) inside the window jam and just popped the lock open. Note, this is not at all related to "popping and locking," a widely practiced hip hop dance move.

So can you use a slim Jim to open any door on any car? If so, why don't more cars get broken into with these things?

I can’t say for certain that a slim Jim will work on any car, but it will work on most. The reason that there aren’t more break-ins is because most people don’t know how to foil locks. The only thing locks do is to keep honest people honest. Someone who wants to defeat a lock can usually do so. The more knowledgeable you are about locks, the easier they are to defeat. People who are locksmiths and those who work for towing companies understand how a lock works and where their “soft underbellies” are located. There is actually a profession called “Repo” man. That is a person who will repossess cars from those who run afoul of their payments. They are armed with a slim Jim to get the door open, plus a tool that fits on a ratchet wrench that will pull the ignition out of the steering column. With their knowledge, tools, and practice, they can get into a car, start it up and take off faster than if they had keys.

Slim-Jims are probably sold by J.C. Whitney plus dozens of web based auto parts places. Another handy way to break into a car is a simple coat hanger. You only need to get into the door where the lock mechanism is located, and pull it up to unlock the door. Jim once made his own Slim-Jim and has had occasion to use it successfully, as well as the simple coat hanger method. It’s all about the tools.

Brian Writes... Not to age you, or anything, but I was wondering if you could give me some basic info about the Slide Rule. Whenever I come across one, it completely baffles me, and I can't even figure out how to do simple arithmetic... much less use it to land a man on the moon.

Not that slide rules were before my time, but they were beyond my educational experience. Other than some basic principals, slide rules were not taught or used much until you got to some advanced classes in such fields as engineering. As Jim is way behind on his answers, let me just refer you to the HP museum website for a full explanation about slide rules, their history and how to use them.